Businesses are sleepwalking into an IT crisis when the lockdown eases

With three-quarters of IT professionals reported to be suffering from sleep deprivation since the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the workplace, in-house IT teams are now running on empty. This is likely to leave essential IT departments unproductive and prone to making mistakes, which could have potentially catastrophic consequences for both business productivity and security.

Turning to a managed services model could offer some immediate relief from this headache, but they must act fast with an ease in lockdown restrictions likely to add further fuel to the fire.

Whether it is a server outage, a security breach, enabling access to remote collaboration tools or simply resetting a password, IT professionals are the key workers that have largely gone under the radar since COVID-19 escalated. However, figures published by Core revealed that 29% are now finding their jobs ‘too stressful’, while a huge 71% of IT workers are getting less than two hours a day of ‘genuine downtime’. This is having a direct impact on the amount sleep they are getting, with 74% getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours’ sleep on weeknights.

At a time when businesses need a functioning and productive IT department, the knock-on effects could incredibly damaging – if staff are running on empty, they are more likely to be unhappy, less motivated, unproductive and, more concerningly, prone to errors. Any mistake, whether it is unintended or not, could leave businesses vulnerable to a range of threats, particularly those related to cybersecurity, which are now more extensive as remote working increases.

IT professionals are the unsung heroes of many businesses and have probably not been given the credit they deserve. They are the cornerstone of why companies have been able to adapt so rapidly to the current situation, but it’s clear that we are sleepwalking into a dangerous situation. One of the biggest burdens facing IT teams is the burden of legacy technologies, with the report showing a clear link between the wellbeing of staff and the amount of time they spend on keeping the lights on across outdated environments.

As the lockdown starts to ease, things are unlikely to get any easier and the amount of work being pushed onto the desks of IT teams will only increase. In particular, as staff make their return to the office, in-house IT departments will have to deal with issues such as cached passwords, missed updates and patches and adjusting configurations for systems that had been tweaked to support remote working – all adding an extra burden on their day-to-day work. Now is definitely not the time to press the snooze button.

To alleviate the pressure being exerted on IT teams, a range of solutions were proposed in the report, such as updating as much as possible to a cloud environment and reducing the amount of time IT teams are spending on maintaining outdated legacy systems. However, the role that managed services could play here cannot be overstated enough, as finding the right partner can take the pressure off overworked IT teams, while also giving them the tools to get on with what they do best – using the latest technologies to drive their business forward.

As the lockdown eases, one way that business can lift any extra weight is by moving to a managed services model. As the report showed, turning to managed services can remove the burden on IT staff of being the go-to ‘emergency fixers’, while simultaneously freeing them up to focus on more strategic and valuable IT challenges. Although there are other options at the disposal of businesses, such as ensuring staff have a clear-cut work/life balance, making the shift to managed services has the potential to immediately transform the job satisfaction of currently overworked and overburdened IT staff. After all, if staff are happier, more productive, performing better and adding greater value, businesses will soon be able to reap the rewards.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stuart Dickinson is COO at eacs, an award-winning and trusted provider of IT solutions and managed services in both the Private and Public Sectors. Founded in 1994, the company supplies practical, innovative and cost-effective IT products, solutions and services to businesses. Solutions include end-user computing, infrastructure, cloud computing and systems management.